With more than two years experience in Indiana and drawing on the
experience of Michigan and Ohio, the DNR today announced a change in the
procedures required when dealing with an infestation of
emerald ash borer.
To this date, when an infestation was found, the DNR, using federal
funding, oversaw the required removal of ash tress in a one-half mile
radius of the infestation. The tree removal was used to slow the spread of
Under the new protocols adopted through a new rule, the state will continue
to monitor and delineate infested areas but will no longer require nor fund
the removal of trees in an infested area.
"The removal of ash trees surrounding an infested area has not proved to be
a effective approach to controlling the emerald ash borer because of the
near impossibility in detecting a new infestation," said State Entomologist
Dr. Robert Waltz. "Indiana will continue to do all we can to assist with
controlling the spread of this pest and will work with property owners –
municipal, state, private or others – to deal with infested ash trees on
"It is possible that better tools to detect and to control this pest may
become available in the next few years. Unfortunately, we cannot bank
today’s realities on tomorrow’s dreams."
The emerald ash borer is believed to have been brought to the United States
and Canada from China in a packing crate or other wood as long as 15 to 20
years ago. Because it has been in this country so long and our ability to
detect new infestations is so inadequate, it is impossible to know where
some infestations are located until the ash trees begin to die.
When first discovered, scientists believed it would be valuable to
eliminate all ash trees with a half mile of an infestation (the effective
range of the emerald ash borer) to slow the spread. Since that time,
however, they have determined the that the beetles may have moved beyond
the half-mile but we are unable to detect them.
Waltz said, however, that the state will continue to work with residents,
the nursery industry and others to slow the spread of the pest. "Not moving
firewood is one of the most effective steps Hoosiers can take to help stop
the spread of the emerald ash borer," he said. "On its own, the beetle can
move only relatively short distances. With people, the beetles can be moved
across town or even across the state in one fell swoop."
"The nursery and wood industry is doing their part and scientists
throughout the country, especially in Michigan, are looking for other ways
to attack this pest."
Under the new protocol homeowners and other property owners with ash trees
will not be required to immediately remove ash trees if within a half-mile
of an infestation, the property owner will assume the expenses of removing
the tree if it becomes infested and dies as of natural causes.